Review: Svartgren – Divlja Vatra

Svartgren – Divlja Vatra (Werewolf Promotion)
Review by Milos Sebalj

I am sincerely glad to be able to say Svartgren is finally a full-blown Black Metal machinery! It took them a whole decade to rise and evolve from the cocoon of a demo band and become a force to be reckoned with. Now, with the second full-length album underway, we can at last speak about one of the forerunners of Serbian scene.

Svartgren managed to combine all the best feats of eastern European Black Metal into catchy tunes which comprise over 40 minutes of their new record. A mix of atmosphere and ferociousness that made Mgla and the likes famous is omnipresent on “Divlja Vatra” (Wild Fire, in English). Other notable influences might be Koldbrann, or any of the more (in)famous French Black Metal bands of the legendary LLN brotherhood. As you can imagine, this is not strictly ‘eastern’ album, though it mostly revolves around Poland, Ukraine or even Romania. Not to mention the Serbian old-timers, The Stone. It is clear that Svartgren is not ashamed of where their music came from, nor are they trying to hide it on the album itself. However, it must be noted that the quartet is quite capable of standing on their own ground, without letting the above mentioned legends take too much of their creation.

Svartgren isn’t formed by impatient individuals, so they do take as much time as it is needed to craft their songs to the satisfactory result. This fact enables them to form memorable riffs that lead the album throughout. Same goes for the magnificent cover artwork. While the vocals might not be the best you’ve ever heard, they are convincing enough. Accompanied by the lyrics (in Serbian, sorry guys, you will miss out a whole lot) which were a big part of the previous record’s appeal, Alexandar’s voice guides the feeling of the record. The previous statement is mostly backed up by my previous experience, as I cannot fully understand the words, but I trust the poetical side of the band wasn’t lost along the way. Rhythm section fails to enable you a different view, but it keeps to the standards of the genre, and does so with utmost dedication, giving the album its necessary roughness.

Rather than being a charge into the unknown, “Divlja Vatra” should be construed as another shovelful of dirt while digging the impassable trenches that guard the Black Metal ground. Svartgren is not about introducing a whole new spectrum into the genre, yet they have put out another strong record which might easily stand shoulder to shoulder with the best Serbia has to offer.

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